Public Release: 

Smoking can harm the long-term effects of some oral surgery procedures

Study found people who smoke damaged the long-term stability of certain oral surgical procedures

American Academy of Periodontology

A study in the September issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) found that smokers had less desirable long term results following periodontal plastic surgery than non-smokers.

The study followed 10 smokers and 10 non-smokers for two years to evaluate the effects of cigarette smoke on the long term outcomes of a treatment to help soft tissue reattach to the root surface of the teeth. After two years, residual gum recession around the area which received the surgery was greater in smokers as compared to non-smokers.

Studies have shown that smoking can impair the body's ability to heal itself immediately after surgery; but, this most recent study also showed that when a patient has periodontal plastic surgery, smoking can damage the ability of that procedure to stay intact over a long period of time.

"People who smoke and have had some sort of periodontal plastic surgery should be aware of the negative side effects of smoking. It can be costly to have to repeat a surgery because the desirable outcomes might have been undone by smoking," explained Preston D. Miller, Jr., DDS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology. "Therefore, it is important patients and doctors agree to a smoking cessation program prior to any periodontal surgery. This will help a patient's chance of achieving optimal results."

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To find a periodontist or to find out if you are at risk for periodontal diseases take the Academy's risk assessment test. A referral to a periodontist, additional information, and brochure samples are available online at www.perio.org, or by calling toll-free 800-FLOSS-EM (800-356-7736).

The American Academy of Periodontology is an 8,000-member association of dental professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants. Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A copy of the JOP article "Coronally Positioned Flap for Root Coverage in Smokers and Non-Smokers: Stability of outcomes between 6 months and 2 years" is available to the media by contacting the AAP Public Affairs Department at 312-573-3243. The public and/or non-AAP members can view a study abstract online, and the full-text of the study may be accessed online for $20 at http://www.joponline.org/.

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